The Filipino is more Spanish than he thinks (Rina Jimenez-David)
Artículo en dos partes titulado "The Filipino is more Spanish than he thinks" por Rina Jimenez-David (inglés)
Part 1: The Inner 'kastilaloy'
"MORE Spanish than we think," seems to be a statement that many people agree with. Watching the Spanish revue "Bravo Zarzuela!" I was struck by how many of the movements and dances (and even costumes!) depicted were eerily echoed in many "Filipino" dances, especially those depicting festivities among lowland rural Filipinos.
I could just imagine homesick friars and peninsulares teaching dances or staging rituals from their childhoods to Indio children and friends for performing, say, at an upcoming fiesta or to greet a visiting dignitary. These dances would become so popular that the performers would be asked to stage them again and again, and in the process "indigenizing" the movements, music, images and costumes.
And the same process most probably took place when it came to food, architecture, religion and language.
Ric Ramos, a consultant with the Spanish Embassy, says he remembers Alejandro Roces once remarking that Filipinos may not realize how much of our culture is rooted in Spain "because it has become so much a part of us already that we don't notice it."
He adds: "When I attended my Spanish class late last year our Filipina teacher told us that roughly 8,000 words in Tagalog are of Spanish origin. Likewise, Instituto Cervantes estimates that about 25 percent of Tagalog words came from Spanish. (The percentage) must be higher in the Visayas where words like cambio, barato (cheap) and others are commonly used."
Perhaps rekindling our common past and heritage with Spain would serve us better as a people, says Rick, instead of continuing our obsession with "the junk we are constantly getting from the good ol' US of A!"
BUT here is one Pinay who got in touch with her "inner kastilaloy" precisely in the evil kingdom of pop culture, the United States.
Marcie Santos-Taylor, in a column for a New Jersey-based Filipino paper, writes that when she first arrived in the United States, she felt unsure about what box to check in forms asking for her "ethnic group."
"The obvious group or racial category for Filipinos to identify with is of course, 'Asian,' for after all, the Philippines is located in South East Asia," she wrote. "Then why do I feel so uncomfortable in my Asian skin? Especially when standing in line with my fellow 'Asian-Americans'. Maybe it's because I don't look Oriental. Maybe it's my Hispanic name. And then it hit me. There I was standing in line at the bus station when I was asked for the nth time for directions in Spanish! My dark hair, brown skin and the 'Santos' part of my name stuck to my bag tag cried out 'paisano!' Fortunately for the person asking directions, I attended a school in Manila that taught Spanish as a major subject for 12 years. The answer to my un-Asian feeling lay in the fact that while Filipinos share geography with Asians, we share more with our 'Latino' brothers in name, food, culture, religion and history. Just think about how more at home you feel watching Telemundo than Kung Fu."
Since her epiphany, says Marcie, she has tried to reconnect to her Spanish roots and now savors the many things she shares in common with friends who trace their origins to Latin America, Mexico and other outposts of the old Spanish empire.
"Like it or not, Hispanic culture flows through our veins and our lives -- in our languages (and not just Chavacano), our food (just think menudo), our beliefs (just think of the Church). It's hard to erase 375 years of Spanish rule. Perhaps now is the time to embrace that part of our past, forget the scars dealt by our Spanish colonizers."
Asociación Cultural Galeón de Manila - C/ Rioja, 9 - 5º F 28042 Madrid NIF: G85662187. Inscrita en el Registro de Asociaciones de la Comunidad de Madrid con el número 30.150, de fecha 17 de marzo de 2009, y en el Registro de Entidades Ciudadanas del Ayuntamiento de Madrid nº 02291.